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Key points about betahistine

  • Betahistine is used to treat vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss associated with Ménière’s disease.
  • Betahistine is also called Vergo.
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. 
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Betahistine is thought to work by improving blood flow to your brain and affecting nerve cells in your inner ear. It is used to treat symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance, ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss associated with Meniere's disease. 

It is unlikely to stop all these symptoms, but it may reduce how often these occur and their severity. Your doctor may advise you to try betahistine for 6 to 12 months to see if it helps to reduce your symptoms. If it does, it can then be continued. 

  • The usual dose of betahistine is half a tablet (8 milligrams) or one tablet (16 milligrams) taken 3 times daily. However, depending on your response. your doctor may tell you to take different doses.
  • Always take your betahistine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much betahistine to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

  • Take your betahistine tablets with a glass of water.
  • Take betahistine at the same times each day.
  • It is best taken with or after food, to prevent stomach upset.
  • Keep taking betahistine every day. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks before any response to betahistine is noticeable. 
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Here are some things to know when you're taking betahistine. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking betahistine.
  • Other medicines: betahistine interacts with some medications including antihistamines which can be bought over the counter. Betahistine may interact with herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting betahistine and before starting any new products.

Like all medicines betahistine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Stomach upset
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Gas in the stomach or bloating
  • These are quite common when you first start taking betahistine and often go away with time.
  • Try taking betahistine with or after food.
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rashes, itching, blisters, peeling skin, swelling of your face, lips, mouth or having problems breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product(external link)

The following link has more information on betahistine.

Vergo 16(external link) Consumer Information, Medsafe


  1. Betahistine dihydrochloride(external link) New Zealand Formulary
  2. A delicate balance: managing vertigo in general practice(external link) BPAC, NZ, 2012
  3. Vergo 16(external link) Medsafe, NZ

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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